Hearts Under Fire
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by H.J. Raine, Kelly Wyre
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Ten years ago, Maxwell you-can-just-call-me Clark thought he would spend his life as a military man. But his world turned into a nightmare when a suicide bomber destroyed Clark's career. It's been a long road to recovery, littered with surgery, alcohol, and secrets, but Clark finally has peace. His bar, Glow, is the place to be in the city of New Amsterdam, the son of the mayor employs Clark as a confidential information man, and Clark's side venture as part-owner of a BDSM club is quite the profitable release. Clark's life is a good one, so long as no one gets too close. Then a man walks into Glow who will forever change Clark's rules and reality. Thinking Professor Daniel Germain is just another handsome face ripe for Clark's kind of good time, Clark puts on his smoothest moves. When the professor turns him down, Clark goes on the hunt, and what he discovers shows him that even the deepest wounds can be healed by submitting to love.
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/Top Shelf, 2011 www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: August 2011
18 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [354 KB]
Reading time: 230-323 min.
Clark blinked. Of course Clark was gay. The bartender went still for a moment -- a leftover from training that taught him that moving when confused or startled could get one killed. He replayed the conversation, forced the bullshit bits about his eye and the past away from his thoughts, and finally caught up to the rumor business.
Under normal circumstances, Clark thought he might be more upset that somebody got him off his game -- even for a split second or two. But some weird additional heat was mixing in with the desire to get this man alone in a dark room and learn what his skin tasted like.
"Oh? Do you?" Clark said, as he leaned back in and brushed his thumb over the back Daniel's right hand. "I've acquired a taste for it myself."
"Have you, now?" Daniel asked. He caught the wandering hand with his left and tried to turn it over. The lightness of Clark's skin against the darkness of Daniel's hand fascinated Clark, and want stirred in Clark's bloodstream and groin like some grinning cat poised over a cornered mouse. Clark hummed and pressed his thumb into Daniel's palm for a light squeeze with a hint of very short nail. Clark relented and let the other man move his hand.
"I guess I've had a taste for it ever since I remember," Daniel said. He spread Clark's fingers on the bar and traced the life and health lines, as if divining things from Clark's skin. "That is part of my trepidation over the wedding. They've never physically beaten me up about it, just tried to get me to date more girls."
Clark found it was harder than it had any right to be for him to follow Daniel's words instead of the trails of fire igniting on his skin. Mentally, he chastised himself for getting so worked up. Then he chastised himself for chastising himself over feeling something good.
Truly, it was one long game of punch-for-punch in Clark's head sometimes.
"'More girls?'" Clark repeated, refusing to look away from Daniel's face. He relaxed his arm and hand with effort. "Implying there were girls to season your taste early on?"
"Mmhm," Daniel hummed, brushing his thumbnail against the Mound of Mars under Clark's thumb. "Beauty is still beauty, as are intelligence and courage. Though I admit that my aunt was just beside herself when I was dating a girl who was graduating summa cum laude."
"I'm sure," Clark agreed, grateful for the new information to distract him from the urge to full-body flinch from the casual touches. Calculating, he rolled his fingers and stroked the underside of Daniel's wrist. "I'm sure they'll all be glad to see you. Sounds like the kind of family that wants you to be happy above all else." Touch, drag, press of fingertip, and Clark's heart beat faster.
Daniel squeezed Clark's hand and released him. "I don't know about happy, but they're always there when I need them. That's a good thing."
Clark watched Daniel grab the beer and empty it with one last, long pull. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, struggling with an internal wrestling match that started when Daniel let go of him. He instantly regretted the loss of contact and chided himself for it. It wasn't sudden, so Clark didn't think he'd offended. But something was off.
"Having that kind of support is rarely a bad thing," Clark commented, trying to sort through the Daniel-flavored consternation.
"Indeed," Daniel said, finishing the sandwich. The furrow was back between Daniel's brows, and Clark shook his head, bemused, before reaching to cover Daniel's entire hand with his own.
Giving an affectionate squeeze, Clark leaned closer, playful again. "You're thinking hard enough to make my head hurt."
Daniel blinked and then laughed, the smile reaching the corners of his eyes. The effect took Clark's breath away. ENDEXCERPT